As of Monday, 22 February 2021, the cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases is 1,504,588 with 792 new cases identified, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has confirmed.
97 more Covid-19 related deaths were reported, with 7 from Eastern Cape, 30 from Free State, 15 from Gauteng, 8 from Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN), 7 from Mpumalanga and 22 from Western Cape.
This brings the total number of Covid-19 related deaths to 49,150.
Recoveries now stand at 1,413,566 representing a recovery rate of 93,7%.
A total of 8,907,857 tests have been completed with 15,342 new tests conducted since the last report.
Meanwhile, the total number of vaccines that have been administered stands at 23,059.
As of today, the total number of confirmed #COVID19 cases is 1 504 588 the total number of deaths is 49 150, the total number of recoveries is 1 413 566 and the total number of vaccines administered is 23 059. pic.twitter.com/AQc9GWoLTt
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) February 22, 2021
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These are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
US nears 500,000 deaths
The death toll in the United States is set to cross the half a million mark.
At least 498,901 deaths were recorded there early Monday, with average daily deaths almost certain to push it over the 500,000 mark.
But the catastrophic milestone comes amid signs of hope with millions there now vaccinated and its massive spike in infections dropping.
Globally, the pandemic has killed more than 2.46 million people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources at 1100 GMT.
After the US, Brazil has the most deaths at 246,504, followed by 180,107 in Mexico, 156,385 in India and 120,580 in the United Kingdom.
Experts say the number of deaths is broadly under-estimated.
The world’s biggest vaccine maker, India’s Serum Institute, tweets that it has been instructed to prioritise its production of the AstraZeneca vaccine for Indians and urges other countries to be “patient”.
French Riviera downer
The French Riviera will go into lockdown for the next two weekends to contain rising infections in the tourist hotspot.
Beginning of the end?
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to start unwinding England’s third and — he hopes — final lockdown, as a quickening UK-wide vaccination drive relieves pressure on hard-hit hospitals.
UN chief Antonio Guterres criticises countries that are using the pandemic to justify cracking down on dissent and reining in the media.
He also slams inequalities between rich and poor countries in accessing vaccines as a “moral outrage”.
German pupils return to school
Hundreds of thousands of German children go back to class for the first time in two months with most schools limiting the return to the youngest children and halving class sizes.
Air New Zealand is to trial a digital travel pass which will give airlines and border officials access to passenger health information, including their vaccination status.
Australia pulls FB ads
Australia’s health authority joins the country’s row with Facebook by cancelling ads pushing its vaccination scheme, though it will continue to post on its Facebook page.
All religious, social and political gatherings are banned in Mumbai as cases rise in India’s worst-affected region and the country’s vaccine drive falls behind schedule.
Sri Lankan fast bowler Lahiru Kumara tests positive on the eve of the team’s departure to the West Indies for a tour already delayed by the virus.
French rugby floored
France captain Charles Ollivon is one of five more players ruled out of this weekend’s crunch Six Nations clash against Scotland after testing positive along with Cyril Baille, Peato Mauvaka, Romain Taofifenua and Brice Dulin.
It takes the catastrophic infection toll in the French camp to 14, with star scrum half Antoine Dupont and manager Fabien Galthie already sidelined.